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The Romance Reader: ‘Night Diver’

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By Lezlie Patterson

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

(MCT)

“Night Diver” by Elizabeth Lowell; William Morrow ($26.99)

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Elizabeth Lowell’s characters are often snide, cynical and sarcastic, and she did not deviate from this form in “Night Diver.” But in this case, it adds a bit to the charm and chemistry between Holden and Kate.

Another quirk of Lowell’s is totally submersing readers into whichever subject she has chosen to research for her latest book. Thankfully, she has stepped away from that with her last couple of books, which makes them so much more pleasurable to read.

In “Night Diver,” Lowell does an admirable job of blending a mystery with a modern-day romance.

Kate fled her Caribbean home and her family’s nautical salvaging (treasure hunting) business many years ago. A frantic call from her brother begging her to return to help them save the struggling business has Kate very reluctantly going home.

Once she’s there, she realizes all her memories aren’t bad. And the man sent to essentially put her family out of business isn’t all bad either.

Holden has been sent by a British government agency to discover if Kate’s family is inept, or if they are stealing recovered treasure. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take Kate long to ally herself with Holden. Not as surprisingly, it doesn’t take Holden long to realize Kate is innocent of anything nefarious going on.

It takes even less time for the both of them to recognize the fierce attraction that pulsates between them. Not much longer to act on that attraction. Definitely not surprising.

While Lowell does refrain from smothering readers with too much detail, there is a lot of information about diving in the story. Most of it is rather necessary. Doesn’t make it less tedious, but at least it’s not too much and it doesn’t overshadow the romance and suspense that hooks a reader almost immediately.

HOW IT STACKS UP

Overall rating: 4 of 5 hearts. It’s not exactly an easy book to read, but it’s worth the effort. You feel like you’re on a tropical island, and underwater when they dive. The characters have substance and are interesting.

Hunk appeal: 10. Holden comes across as a competent tough guy, but a leg injury limits him at some very inopportune times.

Steamy scene grade: XXXX. Of course other times, his leg injury doesn’t bother him at all.

Happily-Ever-After: Ok. It almost drags on a bit too long. Maybe it actually does. And the “epilogue” type ending is a bit convoluted. But the bad guys are thwarted, and the good guys are embracing their bliss.

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ALSO THIS WEEK

“A Camden Family Wedding” by Victoria Pade (2014, paperback) 3 of 5 hearts. This is a story about two honest, guileless people who want completely different things out of life, and therefore think their feelings for each other are doomed.

Another in the “Camdens of Colorado” series, this focuses on Dane, whose turn comes up to make amends for his great- grandfather’s questionable business morals.

Vonni is his target, and while he’s attracted and forced to spend a lot of time with her, he’s determined not to follow the path his siblings and cousins have taken by falling in love and marrying those they’ve been assigned for amends-making.

Dane is adamant that he will never marry. He loves his family, including the young nieces and nephews, but he relishes his solitude as well. Vonni wants a husband, kids, dog and picket fence. Both are forthcoming about their stances, and both understanding of the other’s position. So both are really bummed when the have to say good-bye. Until Dane realizes it isn’t marriage and kids he wants to avoid, but marriage and kids without Vonni.

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© 2014, McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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The Romance Reader: ‘Night Diver’